Last month, my wife informed me that we needed to buy a new remote control for our digital video recorder (DVR). Evidently, we’d worn out the fast-forward button! I laughed while considering the socioeconomic ramifications of this simple replacement purchase.
In the past, our opposable thumbs separated us from the animals. In the age of digitized content, they also separate something else–active audiences from passive ones. Yesterday, third-parties chose what content we consumed. Today, hand-held devices return that control to us, through the simple act of depressing rubberized buttons with our opposable thumbs.
But the analogy doesn’t stop there. Social Networks such as Facebook and YouTube offer virtual thumbs-up buttons to indicate if we “like” something, and thumbs-down buttons to voice our displeasure. Today, a worldwide movement has given us more opportunities to express our individual views than at any other time in human history, so much so that thumbs-up sign has become the universal symbol for personal endorsement.
Like it or not (pun squarely intended), your company’s messages are at the whim of our thumbs. So what will it do with this new reality?
- How will your company earn our thumbs-ups?
- How will it respond if we indicate a thumbs-down?
- How will it encourage the use of rewind and volume-up buttons as opposed to fast-forward or mute?
The answer lies within The Rule of Thumbs.